Fingers and toes

Manicures provide many more health benefits than simply looking polished. Joy Duffiled elaborates

Manicure and pedicure are treatments for both men and woman! Regular manicures and pedicures (every four to six weeks) provide great benefits for your overall health. Let’s have a look at what these treatments entail.

A professional therapist will do a thorough consultation and inspect the hands and feet for any contraindications (factors that can lead to products causing harm) such as fungus or bacteria on the skin or under the nails. Should it be necessary, the therapist will refer you to a doctor.

A wonderful exfoliating will remove any dead skin cells and improve circulation to the area. The nails will be shaped according to the customer’s needs and nail type, which can vary from hard, dry or brittle nails to soft peeling nails.

Shaping the nails is not only for aesthetic purposes, but also to prevent and treat ingrowing toenails, which can be excruciatingly painful and lead to the removal of the toenail. If one is prone to ingrown toenails, it is recommended to file the nail straight across and not too short.

Another tip is rather using an emery board as opposed to a metal file when filing nails; and file from the outer corners towards the centre as opposed to a sawing action, which can lead to the splitting of the nails.

Cuticles, the thin bit of skin at the base of the nail, can become dry, which leads to picking and pulling that result in unsightly and painful whitlows. During the treatment, the cuticle will be gently pushed back and nourished.

For treating hands and feet that have little or no movement, or poor circulation, the cuticles should gently be pushed back with a towel after a bath or shower to ensure the cuticle skin does not adhere to the nail plate – a condition known as Ptyrigium – and continue to grow with the nail.

When having a pedicure, any callused or rough and dry skin underneath the foot will be removed either with a pumice or alkaline peel. Both manicures and pedicures include a pampering, relaxing massage of feet and lower limbs or hands and forearms. This will draw fresh blood to the area and carry away toxins while reducing any swelling or puffiness due to prolonged time in a stagnant position.

This massage can also improve mobility of the joints. Paraffin wax treatments are often an optional extra to treat dry skin and nails, and joint pain. This is a luxurious feeling as the foot or hand is either brushed with or dipped in a basin of warm paraffin wax. The area will then be covered with a plastic to aid in the occlusive (mostuirising) effect on the skin. This opens the pores to allow the treatment cream to penetrate while softening and moisturising the skin.

Painted nails are optional. Buffing the fingernails to an optimal shine is just as rewarding. Buffing is usually the option preferred by men.


Joy Duffield has been a C4-C5 quadriplegic since 2005. She is the owner of Beauty Academy International, an international training Institute for the beauty industry and a distributor of hair and beauty products in South Africa.

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